welcome to bbc news. i'm gavin grey. our top stories: in the wake of those hacking claims — donald trump defends his pro—russia stance, saying the country will respect the us more when he takes office. the iraq war veteran accused of killing five people at a florida airport is formally charged as the fbi face serious questions about the attack. at least 43 people are killed in a huge truck bomb attack in the northern syrian town of azaz. the ivory coast president says he's reached a deal with mutineering soldiers but it's not clear if all of them will accept the settlement. donald trump has given more reaction to the intelligence report released
on friday, which accused russian president vladimir putin of ordering the hacking of us political parties during the election. on twitteertrump said: "having a good relationship with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad! we have enough problems around the world without yet another one. when i am president, russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the world!" our correspondent barbara plett—usher who is in washington has been assessing mr trump's response to that intelligence briefing. well, mr trump has been doing most of the news—making, as you were seeing there with his tweet on russia. he has renewed his call for a closer cooperation and warmer
relations with russia. i think it's a signal that he doesn't want to change his approach to russia, even though the intelligence report accused them of meddling in the election. he did have mr trump, after the briefing, appearing to concede that russia may have been involved in some way, but he did not say anything about the conclusion of the report, that vladimir putin was trying to help him win the election. he very much insisted that any hacking or any outside influence had not had any impact on the outcome of the vote. and i think what you're seeing, the underlying factor to mr trump's response to the intelligence briefing is one that's been there all along, which is he simply cannot accept that the russians tried to help him win, because he somehow feels that this would delegitimise his victory. you see that also in his tweets where he attacked the democrats and says they're driving this because they're sore losers, or he says that they are at fault for the computers being hacked because they had poor defences.
he has gone on with that kind of response, although he did soften his tone towards intelligence agencies, and as i said, he did appear to concede that there had been some kind of cyber interference from the russians. sir tony brenton is the former uk ambassador to russia — he says a good relationship between the us and russia will help to improve the situation in different parts of the world. what's going on in washington at the moment is in some sense a struggle about precisely that point, with the agencies who are rather hostile to any rapprochement with russia putting out this report, which is accurate, no doubt, as a weapon to tie trump down, however. where do you think this new relationship could go? in moscow, the top of mr putin's to—do list for 2017 is establishing a good relationship with donald trump. he had a rotten relationship with obama, and that reached
the stage of being quite dangerous when each side was threatening each other. the obvious area where the two sides, however, can work together is in dealing with isis. as donald trump said, russians and americans are not killing each other but islamic extremists are killing both. beyond that, the other area for co—operation, strangely, is cyber warfare. we have seen charges against russia, we have seen the americans, for example, hacking into the cellphone of angela merkel. this is a whole new area of potential conflict which is very dangerous, in very similar to the early years of the ownership of nuclear weapons. and there is scope there again. it is something that they could usefully be working on together. there are all sorts of complications. they've had a very sharp difference about syria. yes, donald trump set himself firmly against iran who are working closely
with the russians. and conversely the saudis are working closely with america. the core underlying fact is that both the russians and the americans are suffering from the impact of terrorism. both have, for example, intelligence that could be useful to the other side. both have military assets in syria which are usable and being used against isis activity there. if they co—ordinated, they could do things better. the main point about this is that it is important in itself, but it then create the sort of mutual trust and cooperation that could lead to mutual cooperation on other typical difficult areas, most notably ukraine. us authorities have formally charged an iraq war veteran over the mass shooting at a florida on friday. the fbi is facing questions over its handling of the case after it admitted that esteban santiago visited its office in alaska last year, and that his erratic behaviour led to a referralfor a mental
health assessment. gary o'donoghue reports from fort lauderdale. a mother, grandmother, a great—grandmother, and a wife, olga woltering was born in britain, but had lived in the united states for decades. today, her church in georgia described her death as a tragedy, and paid tribute to a joyful, loving person. also among the dead, 57—year—old michael oehme, who was on his way, with his wife, for a caribbean cruise. three others died in yesterday's carnage, as the gunman used a semi—automatic weapon in the baggage hall, scattering terrified passengers, people running for their lives. once he had finished shooting, reports say he threw aside his weapon and lay spread—eagled on the ground, waiting to be arrested.
this is the man police have named as the gunman. he is esteban santiago, a 26—year—old former member of the military. his family say he had been receiving psychological help after his discharge last august. his aunt has said he was never the same after returning from serving in iraq in 2011. as things started to return to normal at the airport, it has emerged that santiago had been in touch with the fbi as recently as november last year. one anonymous source has said he told agents that the government was ordering him to watch videos from the islamic state group. the agents themselves noted the erratic behaviour, that concerned them and motivated them to call the local authorities to have him taken into custody, and evaluated at a medical facility for his mental health.
questions are also being raised about the ease with which santiago was able to transport and use his weapon, in a supposedly secure place like an airport. it is legal to put a gun in checked baggage in the us, as long as it is locked in a case and unloaded. but you can carry ammunition in the same case. santiago will appear on monday in court, on federal charges. but, while his motivations will continue to be probed, there are also serious questions about how a man who had already appeared on the authorities‘ radar could seemingly go on to commit such a heinous crime. gary o'donoghue, bbc news, fort lauderdale, florida. the israeli ambassador in london has apologised after an official at the embassy was secretly filmed saying he wanted to, as he put it, "take down" some british mps — including the foreign office minister, alan duncan. the senior political officer,
shai masot, says sir alan is "causing a lot of problems". he goes on to describe the british foreign secretary, borisjohnson, as an idiot. the israeli ambassador said the comments did not reflect the views of his embassy or the israeli government. at least 43 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded in northern syria. the bomb went off in azaz — a busy market in the rebel—held town that lies on the border with turkey. local residents suspect the islamic state group carried out the attack. azaz has been a key staging post on the supply route for rebel groups. alex forsyth reports from neighbouring lebanon. fear, panic and chaos, the aftermath of this morning's explosion. many were killed, others wounded, by the attack outside a courthouse in a busy commercial district in the centre of the city. translation: a car bomb went off in the city
centre, near civilians. there are no fighters here. all of them are civilians. as rescue workers searched for both survivors and bodies, no—one had claimed responsibility for this attack. but this city is no stranger to such scenes. azaz is a stronghold of turkish—backed syrian rebels involved in a major operation to clear so—called islamic state from northern syria, close to the turkish border. in recent days, turkish forces and rebels have continued to target is, which isn't included in the fragile ceasefire covering much of syria. azaz has become home to people who have fled fighting elsewhere. today's attack shows, despite the ceasefire largely holding, people in syria are continuing to die. alex forsyth, bbc news, beirut. in other news: the former president and prime minister of portugal, mario soares, has died at the age of 92. as a left—wing lawyer,
mr soares was jailed under the military—backed regime, before becoming the country's first democratically—elected prime minister. there's been an argument in england over the state of the national health service. the british red cross says there is a humanitarian crisis in english hospitals, but managers deny the claim. last week, over a0 accident and emergency departments had to send ambulances to other hospitals, because they were too full to deal with more patients. in beijing, a new team of environmental police will try to reduce levels of toxic smog engulfing the chinese capital. they'll look for local sources of air pollution, such as open—air barbeques. there's also a plan to reduce coal consumption by thirty %. many residents have been forced to stay in their homes for days at a time over the past month to avoid breathing the polluted air. the president of ivory coast says he's reached a deal to end a mutiny
in the army. the defence minister, who'd been held by rebellious soldiers, has been released. catrina renton reports. it started on friday, when soldiers blocked the roads, taking over the second—largest city, bouake. and the unrest spread to other cities. un troops queued up, waiting to try and calm the situation down. the reason — the soldiers want improvements in their living conditions and pay. the defence minister met soldiers in bouake, and it looked like a deal had been reached. translation: these were not negotiations. we came here to talk with our men, get their concerns, and to give a true account about talks to the president of the republic. and then the president went on national television, saying he would take into account what they wanted. but he did chastise them. translation: i would like to repeat that this way of making demands is not appropriate. indeed, it tarnishes
the image of our country, after all of our efforts in development and diplomatic transition. having marked my position, i call on all our soldiers to go back to their barracks. and some appeared happy to do this. translation: all the blockades will be left. we will go back to our barracks, and the cars can move freely again. although the meeting with the defence minister seemed amicable, later he was trapped in the house by some soldiers demanding to know when they will be paid, and how much. he has now been released. the situation appears to be getting back to normal, but some say this has brought back memories of the ivory coast's ten—year civil war, which ended in 2011. the question now is whether all the soldiers will accept the offer, and if the deal will hold. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: we look at what's behind the rising number of hotter, destructive ‘megafires‘ in the united states.
the japanese people are mourning, following the death of emperor hirohito. thousands converged on the imperial palace to pay their respect when it was announced he was dead. good grief. after half a century of delighting fans around the world, charlie brown and the rest of the gang are calling it quits. the singer paul simon starts his tour of south africa tomorrow, in spite of protests and violence from some black activist groups. they say international artists should continue to boycott south africa until majority rule is established. teams were trying to scoop up lumps of oil as france recognises it faces an ecological crisis. three weeks ago, the authorities confidently assured these areas that oil from the broken tanker erika would head out to sea. it didn't. the world's tallest skyscraper opens today. the burj dubai has easily overtaken its nearest rivals. this is bbc news.
i'm gavin grey. the latest headlines: the us president—elect donald trump has posted a series of tweets condemning those who oppose good relations with russia as ‘stupid'. the suspect in the fort lauderdale florida airport shooting has been formally charged — after five people were killed on friday. a powerful blizzard sweeping parts of the united states has been causing havoc in the country's south. temperatures have plummeted and record amounts of snow have fallen across several states. while damage has been minimal, there's been severe disruption, as kathryn armstrong reports. for some, the snow is a welcome arrival and they took it in their stride. but for thousands of people in america's deep south, winter storm helena has been little cause for celebration.
up to eight inches of snow was recorded in the worst hit areas today, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes. frozen rain turned the roads into ice rinks, causing hundreds of traffic incidents and closing many highways. a precautionary state of emergency was declared in states including georgia and north carolina — regions that are unaccustomed to such large snow falls. there have been disruptions to flights — more than 400 were cancelled in atalanta alone. the freezing conditions meant that locals were all too willing to heed advice and stay inside. we will stay home all weekend just because we can. we have wood by the fireplace and ready to go. four people have died in weather—related incidents since helena first hit the country earlier this week. the storm is expected to work its way north—east before moving off the coast on sunday morning local time. kathryn armstrong, bbc news. meanwhile, below—freezing temperatures continue
to sweep across europe. in italy, sub—freezing temperatures were blamed for the deaths of a half—dozen homeless people. heavy snow and high winds resulted in re—routed flights, delayed ferries, cancelled trains and closed roads. at least ten people have died in the cold that has gripped poland in recent days and several greek islands have been blanketed in snow. in sri lanka, demonstrators have clashed with police over plans to evict thousands of villagers and set up a chinese industrial zone in the south of the country. they're angry at being forced to leave their land, despite promises of compensation. china says it will invest five billion dollars in the project around hamba ntota port, creating around 100,000 newjobs. our south asia editor, jill mcgivering reports there was a court ban on protests, but it didn't stop them. hundreds of opponents to this massive deal, led by buddhist monks, showed their anger. sirens wail some accuse china of acting like a new colonial power.
many are sceptical about how local people will benefit from china's investment, and say a 99—year lease is simply too long. translation: because of this agreement, people who were born and living in this area are losing their land and houses. 15,000 acres means 12,000 houses, and 35 temples. we want to know where they are sending us. they did not seem to spoil the celebration inside. for china, this is a first step towards its own major manufacturing zone in southern sri lanka, close to the recently built port, which cost beijing more than $1 billion. it was only a loan, and this land deal is a way of getting its money back. the sri lankan government defends the deal, and promises to compensate those losing their land. translation: we are starting a new journey. we are going to create a powerful sri lanka.
nobody can stop the journey to create a powerful new sri lanka, which will give a bright future to the young people of this country. china has been a significant investor here for several years now, and that seems unlikely to end any time soon. jill mcgivering, bbc news. a week of heavy rains and floods has left at least twelve people dead and thousands of villages submerged in southern thailand. according to the country's interior ministry, 700,000 people have been affected. forecasters are warning that the unseasonal downpours will continue for at least another two days. as david campanale now reports, the deluge has also disrupted beach holidays in several destinations popular with tourists — the islands of ko samui and ko phangan heavy rains are hammering thailand's flood—ravaged south, taking the death toll higher and leaving thousands of villages partially submerged. in some parts, the water has risen to the rooftops.
the rain is turning roads into rivers, making them impassable. it's also inundated farmland and damaged more than 1500 schools. the downpour is expected to persist for another 48 hours, with thailand's meteorologists warning of possible flash floods. its severity is testing the capacity of locals to cope. translation: now we lack food and drinking water, but the water level is almost stable. many flights and train and bus services have been delayed or suspended, and power lines toppled in the region. boats are being used to evacuate flood victims, while military bases are being mobilised to help in the process. for many, the downpours and flooding could not have come at a worse time. tourism plays a vital role in the thai economy, and this is usually peak holiday season, with weather normally both cool and relatively dry.
social media showed some tourists making light of the floods, using inflatable rings to float down waterlogged streets. but others may choose to cancel or cut short their visits, taking away a desperately needed source of income for many ordinary thais. david campanale, bbc news. wildfires in north america are getting bigger, more frequent and and more destructive, according to official statistics from the us government. scientists say a warming climate combined with a century of fire suppression by the people who settled in the west has produced the perfect conditions for so—called "megafires," fuelled by thicker and drierforests. our north america correspondent james cook reports from the colorado rockies. welcome to the furnace. across large swathes of north america, this is the new terrifying normal. in the united states last year, there were more than 60,000 wildfires, and the trend is towards
bigger and more destructive blazes. huge fires are transforming the landscape of the united states. here in the foothills of the rockies, a blaze burned through here 20 years ago, and still it looks like this. no longer dense forest, but essentially prairie. the buffalo creek blaze was one of several so—called mega fires here in colorado which destroyed homes, polluted water supplies, and left locals lucky enough to escape fearful for the future. it is terrifying. it's devastating, the destruction, it's traumatic. it brings into focus very quickly that there's something wrong here. so what is wrong? scientists say rising temperatures and years of drought are partly to blame, and so too is a century of firefighting by the settlers of the west, who interrupted the natural rhythm of regular fires so they could preserve life, property and precious timber. the result — thicker
forest, more fuel to burn, and often devastation. we are caught in this vicious circle. forests need fire — fire is as natural to a forest as sunshine and rain. no—one ever lost theirjob for fighting a fire. as a fire manager or a policy maker, the far more difficult decision is to allow a fire to burn, to manage a fire for its resource benefit. but sometimes you think that needs to happen? 0h, absolutely. the lead agency for wildfires, the us forest service, is caught in a trap — it can't find enough money for its programmes to thin out woodland and prevent fire because more than half its budget is being spent on firefighting. its boss says that has got to change. it's essential that we find a different way to be able to fund fire suppression in this country, and simply to be able to recognise that 1—2% of these fires that start every year need to be considered a natural disaster, not unlike floods are,
like hurricanes are, like windstorms are. for a time, some people thought they had tamed the wild west — nature is proving them wrong. james cook, bbc news, in the colorado rockies. nasa has a least a red ita voter was the earth as seen from mars. the image was taken from the most powerful telescope orbiting the red planet and if you look closely, the british feature in the middle of the face of the earth is australia. it seems small, but i'll be image is a long, long way away. orthodox christians around the world celebrated christmas on saturday — they mark the day according to a different calendar. let's leave you with a look at some of the celebrations. bells toll
after a mild and fairly murky night across much of the uk, those taking to the roads on sunday morning need to be wary. there will be fog around once again, especially over hills and around some of the coasts. the odd patch possible just about anywhere, even where we have seen clear skies through the night and sunshine in the morning. eastern parts of scotland and north—east england, here a bit on the chilly side. for most, a mild enough start to sunday. another grey day, though, and especially misty and murky and damp in the morning. for many, the shade of grey will lighten up into the afternoon, the exception being parts of western scotland. here it turns that little bit wetter. eastern scotland could see the odd splash of rain too. one or two in the north—east seeing a bit of sunshine through the day. northern ireland, the dampest spell around lunchtime. things drying out a touch through the afternoon. skies brightening up a touch. it will be very misty and murky over the hills of northern england. east of the pennines, like we saw on saturday, one or two brighter breaks and a bit of sunshine. maybe some sunshine to the north—east of wales too. but for the vast majority of england and wales,
another cloudy, fairly mild day. not desperately exciting weatherwise. hopefully action on the pitch for the fa cup third round will be much more exciting than the sky cover overhead. you will have to be wary of mist and fog forming if you are journeying home later in the evening. mist and fog into monday morning across england and wales. lifting for scotland and northern ireland because a breeze is picking up. into monday, heavy bursts of rain. generally, another mild night to take us into monday itself. that weather front across scotland and northern ireland, with its windy weather, will gradually spread southwards through monday. a wet start here, turning brighter but showery, and also colder. those brighter, showery conditions into northern england and northern wales later on. the heaviest rain doesn't really reach east anglia or the south—east until later in the day. ten degrees, but temperatures drop further north, only four or five. another spell of strong to gale—force winds and cold winds will work through. a brief cold spell monday into tuesday. it turns milder midweek with atlantic winds,
lots of cloud and occasional rain. notice the blues to the end of the week. we start to push them across france into northern italy. arctic air will be with us, and with it, we will see the chance of something wintry. next week, windier overall compared to what we have seen. it does turn colder, and that chance of something wintry. the greatest chance comes from thursday. let's hop forward to thursday. in the south, likely to be some rain and maybe sleet and snow over higher ground later on. frequent wintry showers elsewhere, and a slight dusting in places. we will pinpoint the details as we get closer to the day. bye for now. the headlines on bbc news: the us president—elect, donald trump, has posted a series of tweets condemning those who oppose good relations with russia as stupid or fools. he says the country will respect the us more once he takes office. on friday, a us intelligence report said president putin had helped mr trump win the election. us prosecutors have charged the main suspect in the florida airport shooting.
he could receive the death penalty if convicted. he has told investigators that the attack was planned. the fbi is also facing questions after it emerged he was known to authorities. the ivory coast president says he has reached an agreement with mutineering soldiers over pay and conditions, but it is not clear if all the soldiers will accept the new settlement. the mutiny began on friday, and spread to the capital, where soldiers took over the army headquarters. millions of commuters in london will face disruption from 6:00pm tonight and most of monday, after talks to avert a strike on the london underground broke down.